Beau Willimon (B.W.)-House of Cards creator
Deborah Berke (D.B.)-architect professor, Yale School of Architecture
Carter Cleveland (C.CL.)-founder and CEO of online art forum Artsy
James Wolcott (J.W.)-Vanity Fair culture critic
Damian Woetzel (D.W.)-Dancer: director, Aspen Institute Arts Program and Vail International Dance Festival
Claire Chase (C.Ch.)-Flutist: 2012 MacArthur Fellow; founder of International Contemporary Ensemble
James McBride (J.M.)- 2013 National Book Award-winning novelist (The Good Lord Bird); jazz saxophonist
Who is Carter Cleveland and what is Artsy?
Carter Cleveland 27years old Founder and CEO of online art forum Artsy.
(C.CL.) -“Artsy, it's about being a platform for artist self-expression. And that's really challenging because art, almost by definition, is trying to be original. So we're trying to fit something into a framework that inherently doesn't want to be fit into ant framework.”
Artsy's central algorithm is called the Art Genome Project. Like Pandora does with music, it scores artists and artworks along more than 1,000 categories and brings up art that is "genetically" similar to what you've clicked on.
Example of how the algorithm works:
(C.CL.)-“For every page, you start with an artwork and then, if you scroll down, there are other similar works. It might just be other works that are from the same period. But there might also be works that are from hundreds of years in the past in a different geography, but they have other things about them that are very similar. And then you're like, Huh, I never thought of that before.”
Mr. Cleveland, How do you decide what to include?
(C.CL.)-“Today we essentially curate the curators, so we work with major galleries and cultural institutions and museums. We're careful about who we let onto the platform at this point. In the long run, though, where is the line going to be drawn in the sand when it comes to human expression? It doesn't seem like that's going to be possible to do. I wouldn't be surprised if we become more open but include personalization technology that makes sure you get the perfect experience for you. Ultimately, it's a very democratic vision.”
(B.W.)-“Netflix has been working on algorithms for ten years and are incredibly sophisticated. Example: they have found 10 percent of people who love "The Sopranos" also love "Two and a Half Men". No network executive would ever make that connection. Since the data shows that 10% of these people love both shows, they are going to start suggesting "Two and Half Men" to a lot of "Sopranos" fans.”
(C.CL.)- “I would say that in today's age, art is getting better across every category, because you can actually be more true to yourself and have higher integrity, knowing that, because of more efficient information sharing and the Internet, you will find your audience. For example, there's a series on Netflix that I think is incredible, called "Top of the Lake". It's a series I'd never heard of, none of my friends had seen, but Netflix just kind of knew that this thing was going to be good for me. It surfaced it. And it is so beautiful and has such high integrity.”
(J.T.)-“I get offended by those things (algorithms), I read those "suggestions for you" and I go, what? Are you out of your mind? I don't know what they were thinking!”
(J.M.)-“I think the corporatization of art, and people telling you what you should watch-not only is it offensive, but it's really bad if you're trying to preserve what little innocence you have left.”
Jim, do algorithms like this put the professional critic out of work?
(J.W.) jokes-“Most professional critics have been on autopilot for 20 years.”
Critic: a person who judges the merits of literary, artistic, or musical works, esp. one who does so professionally: a film critic.
Do you pay attention to what's popular these days? Do you find any guidance from Twitter?
(J.M.)-“I pay someone to do Facebook & Twitter for me.”
(D.W.)-“ I'm interested in how completely unrelated things rub up against each other.”
What moral questions are being asked -In visual art?
(J.M.)-What you can't get from Digital: smell, feel, taste -the funk and grit of creative process of creating. Digital takes the sweat and the pus and body odor out of art. But it can offer more opportunities to create.
(C.CL.)-“Think of something like performance art. How do we record that? How do we make that experience accessible to those not lucky enough to be in New York when the performance is happening?”
YouTube is a good example of short performance media that can lead to longer performances. Digital technology is a resource. We have more access to knowledge than ever.
Moore's Law-In 1965, Intel cofounder Gordon Moore predicted that computing power would double about every two years. There's more information being generated everyday than in all of previous human history prior to 1995.
Verbal storytelling around the campfire evolved to the story printed on paper. This made the story available to more people who could read. Then the story on paper evolved to a new medium of film and movies able to reach even more people of different languages. Film on celluloid changed to digital able to tell many stories to even more people around the world.
Here humans are at the beginning. I think we've moved beyond biological evolution.
What is "high culture"?
[Online community] not the same as a [live intellectuals]
(J.W.)-“High culture was defined, as, you know, classical music, museum art... It was a class system, it came out of modernism, the idea that you had to master that level of difficulty to make it and understand it. The Internet and other factors seem to have led to a blurring of the distinction between so-called high culture and low or popular culture.”
High/low-Shakespeare for example is both high and low; he's all of it. He has prose with poetry, clowns and violence. The language of Shakespeare holds him back for extreme popularity.
Examples of how “high culture” class system has lost: Jazz and Rock 'n' Roll won, Blues won. The Impressionists won. Shakespeare won.
(B.W.)-“The reason Michelangelo was able to do what he did is because the Medici’s were willing to pay for it.”
Where is the next great, culture-transforming creative genius going to emerge?
Chinese proverb-"An eye can't see its own eyelashes"
(B.W.)-“The next dominant art form of the 21st century, which suffers from a terrible name, is video games. I think video games are still suffering from this thought that they are incapable of being art.”
What makes it art?
(B.W.)-The thing that brings the most peoples together, also the thing that is the most financially successful. (A video game can make more money in one day than the most successful film of all time has ever made. And a lot of indie games that are being made now are not about winning; they're about world creation.)
They tell a story. Any time human beings can express themselves in a way that transcends a simple, prosaic-commonplace language or find a new way to communicate, in a way that reflects our souls, our feelings and evokes them in others.
I have pull out of this article information that is of interest to me and maybe out of order from original article. I added my own comments to my notes. Please read the original article for context and more information @ www.departures.com